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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Early Consequences of Laser-tissue Interaction at the Atomistic and Molecular Level using Ultrafast Methods


Airman Systems Directorate, RHD/Bioeffects Division

RO# Location
13.15.10.C0040 Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234


Name E-mail Phone
Denton, Michael Lee (210) 539-8069


The primary objective of this research is to investigate the immediate impact of optical radiation on metabolically important biomolecules in cells. Mechanisms of interest include photobiomodulation using low level VIS/NIR irradiation, photo-oxidation via blue/short green light, and photothermal damage pathways. Research will utilize biophysical methods, such as UV/VIS transient absorption and 2D-IR spectroscopy using state-of-the-art sub-100 femtosecond (fs) pulsed laser systems, to identify initial chromophores and subcellular localizations responsible for relevant photochemical and photothermal phenomena. Relevant biological systems include cultured mammalian cells, isolated organelles (e.g., mitochondria), and purified proteins (e.g., respiratory chain supercomplexes). Our group collaborates with other laboratories within AFRL, as well as with those at prominent universities to develop innovative methods and approaches to discover novel laser bioeffects. The laboratory offers extensive laser facilities and support equipment, including Light Conversion’s TOPAS Twins, Ultrafast Systems’ Helios Fire, regenerative amplified fs laser systems, FLIR thermal cameras, picosecond streak cameras, and core computational facilities. Using experimental biophysics and molecular dynamic modeling, the Optical Radiation Branch will be in a position to define game changing capabilities for protection from, and using, directed energy on the modern battlefield.



Denton ML, Noojin GD, Foltz MS, Yakovlev VV, Estlack LE, Thomas RJ, Rockwell BA: Hyperthermia sensitizes pigmented cells to laser damage without changing threshold damage temperature. Journal of Biomedical Optics 18(11): 110501, 2013

Schmidt MS, Kennedy PK, Vincelette RL, Denton ML, Noojin GD, Schuster KJ, Thomas RJ, Rockwell BA: Trends in melanosome microcavitation thresholds for nanosecond pulse exposures in the near infrared. Journal of Biomedical Optics 19(3): 035, 2014

Bixler JN, Hokr BH, Denton ML, Noojin GD, Shingledecker AD, Beier HT, Thomas RJ, Rockwell BA, Yakovlev VV: Assessment of tissue heating under tunable near-infrared radiation. Journal of Biomedical Optics 19(7): 070501, 2014


Laser bioeffects; Spectroscopy; Biochemistry; Physical chemistry; Light-induced conformational change; Photochemistry; Dynamic protein structure; Molecular dynamics; Mammalian cells;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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